Apples in the News

Roxbury’s long-gone orchards are well known in local history circles. The Roxbury Russet apple and Bartlett Pear both hail from our long-ago days as an agricultural community, and it’s not uncommon to see a few Russets planted at historical sites. But until recently, people who aren’t history buffs wouldn’t have heard of these fruits or known that Roxbury was once known far and wide for its orchards.



That seems to be changing. Across the country, grocery stores and restaurants now feature all sorts of artisanal and heirloom foods that would have been completely foreign to most eaters 20 years ago. So it’s no surprise that the Roxbury Russet, in particular, is making something of a comeback.

Fans of apple lore and Roxbury history will be pleased to see that this attention has put the apple in the news, propelled by the release of a new book titled “Apples of Uncommon Character.” The book, which has led to stories in the Boston Globe and on WBUR, is getting positive reviews so far. I’m sure it will be a worthy addition to any local historian’s bookshelf. 


With apple picking season upon us, now’s a great time to go out pick a few Roxbury Russets of your own. There are a handful of trees around Roxbury, but most are privately owned or otherwise not suitable for public consumption. The nearest commercial orchard I could find that advertises the apple is Clarkdale Farm in Deerfield.  The UMass Amherst Cold Spring Orchard also sells the Russet, which is available in the first half of October. 

Of course, most apple buffs also know that apples were prized less for their fruit than for their use to make hard cider. West County Cider in Colerain, MA, has been making some excellent single-apple varietals in recent years. Luckily for us, one of those is the Roxbury Russet. The cider can sometimes be found at Blanchard’s in JP. If it’s not their, they may be able to special order it for you. West County doesn’t have much of a website, but they did make a pretty good YouTube video a couple of years ago that gives a good overview of cider production.



If you’ve got a plot of land with some sun and you’re hoping to grow apples, you’re also in luck. A number of vendors sell Roxbury Russets, including Fedco, Stark Bros., Trees of Antiquity, Maple Valley, and Century Farm.

Whether you prefer to read about apples, eat them raw, turn them into pies, or drink a glass of cider, it’s great to see the Roxbury’s history as an apple producing town getting some press. Happy fall!

Apples in the News

Roxbury’s long-gone orchards are well known in local history circles. The Roxbury Russet apple and Bartlett Pear both hail from our long-ago days as an agricultural community, and it’s not uncommon to see a few Russets planted at historical sites. But until recently, people who aren’t history buffs wouldn’t have heard of these fruits or known that Roxbury was once known far and wide for its orchards.



That seems to be changing. Across the country, grocery stores and restaurants now feature all sorts of artisanal and heirloom foods that would have been completely foreign to most eaters 20 years ago. So it’s no surprise that the Roxbury Russet, in particular, is making something of a comeback.

Fans of apple lore and Roxbury history will be pleased to see that this attention has put the apple in the news, propelled by the release of a new book titled “Apples of Uncommon Character.” The book, which has led to stories in the Boston Globe and on WBUR, is getting positive reviews so far. I’m sure it will be a worthy addition to any local historian’s bookshelf. 


With apple picking season upon us, now’s a great time to go out pick a few Roxbury Russets of your own. There are a handful of trees around Roxbury, but most are privately owned or otherwise not suitable for public consumption. The nearest commercial orchard I could find that advertises the apple is Clarkdale Farm in Deerfield.  The UMass Amherst Cold Spring Orchard also sells the Russet, which is available in the first half of October. 

Of course, most apple buffs also know that apples were prized less for their fruit than for their use to make hard cider. West County Cider in Colerain, MA, has been making some excellent single-apple varietals in recent years. Luckily for us, one of those is the Roxbury Russet. The cider can sometimes be found at Blanchard’s in JP. If it’s not their, they may be able to special order it for you. West County doesn’t have much of a website, but they did make a pretty good YouTube video a couple of years ago that gives a good overview of cider production.



If you’ve got a plot of land with some sun and you’re hoping to grow apples, you’re also in luck. A number of vendors sell Roxbury Russets, including Fedco, Stark Bros., Trees of Antiquity, Maple Valley, and Century Farm.

Whether you prefer to read about apples, eat them raw, turn them into pies, or drink a glass of cider, it’s great to see the Roxbury’s history as an apple producing town getting some press. Happy fall!

Take a free online course about the history of Boston from Suffolk University!

Just a quick post to let you know that Suffolk will be offering its free online History of Boston course in 8 self-paced installments beginning October 20. This course is highly rated and looks very well designed. I’ll be taking it even though I took a History of Boston course at Northeastern not that many years ago.  Sign up and get more info at http://historyofboston.org/ 

Kittredge House Opens its doors

Last night, Historic Boston Inc. and a wide variety of supporters including Mayor Marty Walsh celebrated the completion of the renovations of the historic Alvah Kittredge House into 5 apartments. The $1.2 million renovation has brought the house’s glorious exterior back and saved elements of the interior while tastefully updating and repurposing it.  Congrats to HBI on a job well done, and welcome to the new residents who will soon be moving in!

New book on Boston Beer

Fans of Roxbury history will want to add Boston Beer: A History of Brewing in the Hub to their bookshelves.  I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive, but given the subject matter the book is sure to have lots of info on the string of breweries along the Stony Brook.



WBUR did an interview with the author a couple of months back.



Upcoming Fort Hill Events

Here are a couple of events you won’t want to miss if you like our neighborhood history.

First up, the annual Jazz at the Fort concert series returns to Highland Park after last year’s construction on Sunday, August 3, at 5PM.  This year’s headliner is the Jaleel Shaw Quartet. Get all the details at the Berklee website here:  http://www.berklee.edu/events/jazz-fort-jaleel-shaw-quartet 

And on Monday, August 11, from 5:30 to 8PM, you won’t want to miss your one and only chance to tour the newly renovated Alvah Kittredge House and learn about Mr. Kittredge and his house.  The event will be hosted by HBI and the bill says that Mayor Walsh is planning on attending. The first tenants will move in soon, so this don’t miss this one!  See the flyer at this link or RSVP here.

aurimasmb said: What's the story of the beautiful (somewhat dilapidated) mansion on the corner of Highland and Hawthorne streets, just across from Beech Glen St.?

That house belonged to David Hodgdon, who made a fortune in clothing and textiles.  I wrote it up a while back: http://forthillhistory.tumblr.com/post/15100678539/who-was-david-hodgdon

Tour the Standpipe!

May is National Historic Preservation Month, and the City of Boston is celebrating with events in every neighborhood. The one that is most interesting to us is undoubtedly this one:

Friday, May 30, 2:00-3:00 – Restoring the Fort Hill Standpipe (Rapunzel’s Tower)

Tour and informative session regarding recent renovations to the Fort Hill Standpipe, led by City of Boston Property and Construction Management Department Project Manager Leo Murphy.

Free and open to the public.

Contact Alistair Lucks – Alistair.lucks@gosbon.gov / 617-634-3400



Hope to see you there!

The Story of our Mile Markers, as told by the Globe

Last week, the Globe ran a nice story on the history of the mile markers in Boston. Our neighborhood is fortunate enough to have two of these from the 1700’s, the Parting Stone in Eliot Square and the 3-mile marker just down Centre across from Gardner.  Most of these were installed by Paul Dudley, one of Roxbury’s many famous Dudleys.

The story also included this map showing the location of all the mile markers around Boston.  If you’ve never taken the time to stop and visit the Parting Stone or Mile Marker 3, make sure you do next time you’re walking around the neighborhood!





Patriots Day Events

Join the Roxbury Collaborative in celebrating Boston’s role in freeing the American colonies from British Occupation. On the third Monday of April, begin your day with a buffet breakfast at the UU Urban Ministry/First Church in Roxbury at 8am. Historic speeches will follow and at 10am., you will be able to witness a re-enactment of William Dawes’ horseback ride from Roxbury to Lexington and Concord. 

The William I Brown Memorial Scholarship will be presented to high school students who have demonstrated civic engagement in the community, and a local resident will receive an Unsung Hero Award. The day’s events end with a free one hour trolley tour of Roxbury. Those not wishing to take the tour can instead enjoy open house visits to the Dillaway-Thomas House, the Shirley-Eustis House, and Eliot Burial Ground.

Here are the events taken straight from the flyer:

Monday April 21, 2014

THE FIRST CHURCH IN ROXBURY, JOHN ELIOT SQUARE

10 Putnam Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

(Intersection of Roxbury, Dudley and Centre Streets)

 

EVENTS OF THE DAY INCLUDE:

 

 (8:00 AM – 9:00 AM)

Free Buffet Breakfast and

Ralph F. Browne Jr. Unsung Heroes Awards

 

 (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM)

Warren I. Brown Memorial Scholarship Presentations

William Dawes Ride Re-enactment by the National Lancers

Historic Recitations and Dawes Send-off

Historic Talk

11:00 AM

Trolley Tours led by Thomas Plant and State Representative Byron Rushing of Historic Sites in Roxbury

 

All Events Are Free

 

Other Historic Sites Open on this Date:

Eliot Burial Ground - Washington and Eustis Streets Governor Shirley Mansion - 33 Shirley Street

Dillaway-Thomas House 183 Roxbury Street

 

Honoring the history and culture of the Roxbury community

Sponsors and Supporters of the Roxbury Collaborative Including:

 

National Lancers; 272nd  Veterans Association; Anne Bancroft, UUUM; Ruth Brown, Cheryl Brown-Greene,David L. Ramsay/Patrick E. Toy VFW Ladies Auxiliary  #8772; Marcia Butman, Roxbury Historical Society; Charles Clemons, Touch 106.1 FM; Elaine Corbin, Humanistic Guide Inc.; Janet Fillion, Boston Latin Academy; Discover Roxbury; Linda Evans, Rev. Roger Peltier, , Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry at the First Church Roxbury; State Representative Gloria L. Fox; Historic Boston Inc; Ret. Lt. Paul Hughes and the Madison Park High School JROTC; Paul Keough, Deputy Commissioner of the City of Boston Veterans Services; Lloyd King, Roxbury Action ProgramKathy Kottaridis, Historic Boston; Bill Kuttner, Shirley-Eustis House; Lisa Cooke, Antonio Menefee, DCR; Thomas Plant, Roxbury Highlands Historical Society; Representative Byron Rushing, Roxbury Historical Society; Cynthia J. Santos Fletcher, Daughters of the American Revolution; Jumaada Abdal-Khallaq Henry Smith, A Nubian Notion, Inc.; Joyce Stanley, Dudley Square Main Streets; Deborah Thomas, Colored Ladies Christian Relief Association; Ralph Walton,Unitarian Universalist Congregation at First Church RoxburyUnitarian Universalist Society of West Newton; Benny White, The 54th Massachusetts Volunteers Militia Company A Re-enactors;

and other friends and supporters of the Roxbury Collaborative.